Women's World Cup: Italy gears up for Netherlands face-off in quarterfinal

Italy and Netherlands have faced each other in 15 matches with the Italians dominating their meetings. However, Netherlands is unbeaten against Italy since 2007, having earned three victories and two draws in the last five encounters.

A harsh penalty call going in its favour at the 90th minute is what gifted Netherlands the chance to progress to the last-eight after Japan was knocked out despite putting up a fight against the 2017 Euro champion.

The Oranje will now be up against Italy, which enjoyed a comfortable win against China, registering its first-ever World Cup knockout stage win.

Italy and Netherlands have faced each other in 15 matches with the Italians dominating their meetings. Le Azzurre have seven wins to Oranje's three, in addition to five draws including the teams’ first meeting in 1978, which ended 1-1. 

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However, Netherlands is unbeaten against Italy since 2007, having earned three victories and two draws in the last five encounters. The Italians’ last success was a 2-0 win dating back to 2005.

At France this year, Netherlands has had several names on the scoresheet- from Vivianne Miedema, Lineeth Beerensteyn to Jill Roord and others. However, Barcelona attacker Lieke Martens remains a threat to any opposition.

Martens, who struck twice in Netherlands' knockout victory, however, is doubtful to play against Italy. While celebrating the late match-winning goal against Japan, Martens hurt her foot as Roord jumped on it. Following that, Martens sat out training on Friday for a second successive day, owing to the pain. The doubtful inclusion of the 26-year-old is a concern for the Netherlands attack.

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Italy also faces a similar situation with its experienced striker Cristiana Girelli injured too. Being substituted early on against China after suffering from a combination of injury and heat stroke, Girelli's availability remains uncertain.

Much will thus be expected from youngster Aurora Galli, who is also Girelli's teammate at Juventus. Galli sealed Italy's berth in the quarterfinal with her strike against China, which was her third goal of the tournament - all of the three strikes being netted after coming off the bench. An impactful substitute, Galli could be replaced as the striker if Girelli doesn't recover in time.

The winner of this match will fight the winner of Germany vs Sweden in the semifinal on July 3 at Parc Olympique Lyonnais.

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